In the very heart of Chelsea you will find Finns, the first store selling English gourmet food. Now the founder and owner Julia Bannister has produced the outlets first cook book – FINNS – 27 Years on Chelsea Green.
The book gives full details of the shop’s history, which has been trading for almost 3 decades and battled its way through the tough early years of a recession. At this time deli’s were few and far between in London, and such ready made food as this was generally treat with suspicion.
It charts the store right through to the present day where Finns is an established and buzzing independent shop which is regularly packed with customers seeking delicious home cooked food either to impress their dinner guests or simply to enjoy themselves.
This old-fashioned recipe book celebrates 92 of the ‘most loved’ dishes from nearly 30 years in its kitchen, selected by both staff and customers. The book is deliberately not modelled on the modern, glossy foodie books so prevalent today, instead featuring vignettes of the early years – like slicing ham for Elizabeth David herself, catering for the opening nights of Les Misérables and Cats and facing the wrath of bank managers as optimistic cash flow forecasts failed to materialise.
Showcasing the mini-biographies of the girls who work at Finns, the book has a distinctive old-fashioned feel to it – pen and ink drawings punctuate the text together with photographs of both the staff and customers, past and present, to reveal the true story of Finns.
Author, Julia Bannister explains, “The book details the remarkable journey of Finns, one of London’s first English delis, which has served as a kitchen, a shop, a café and a way of life for both its employees and loyal customers over the past 27 years. The book is an inspiration to aspiring armchair shopkeepers, whilst celebrating the enduring recipes of the shop over the years which have enabled Finns to keep ahead of the culinary game with its proudly ‘no shortcut’ dishes, prepared by a ‘family’ of trusted cooks.”
Printed and hand-bound in England; all of the limited edition books are numbered and 81 of 1,000 are quarter bound in leather.
FINNS – 27 Years on Chelsea Green is priced £28 and available via finnsofchelseagreen.com